Tariffs both welcomed and unwanted at Mackinac Conference

International trade on the mind of many Michiganders this week as the Trump administration decides to invoke tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports. Fearing retaliatory tariffs is Mary Buchzeiger, CEO of Auburn Hills-based Lucern International, who spoke to WPHM yesterday. The company makes hinges for several different types of vehicles and Buchzeiger says they have maxed out the capacity of U.S. plants and relies on Chinese imports to fill their order. Buchzeiger says if they have to pay a 25% tariff on those imports, the increased cost will be passed on to the consumer. On the other side of the coin is Jim Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers’ Association which represents the domestic Great Lakes shipping industry. Weakley hopes the crackdown on foreign imports will mean higher capacity, and more jobs, at American Steel mills. Weakley says domestic steel mills are currently running near 70% capacity and hopes they can get closer to 100% with the new tariffs. He also says the increased demand could result in the shuttered Empire iron mine in Marquette County reopening.